Enneagram Triads: What You Need to Know

Enneagram Triads

For many, the Enneagram presents itself as a fascinating tool for self-discovery. This is where the Enneagram triads come into play, a key concept that deserves exploration to understand this methodology more deeply. But what exactly are they?

What Are the Enneagram Triads?

Imagine you have a blank page in front of you. Draw a circle that symbolizes a whole, that circle is the Enneagram, within this circle, we have 3 sections that have been divided equally, there each of the enneatypes are placed. The sections have well-defined meanings, representing the way we relate to our environment, react to it, and the emotions that predominate in us: Anger, Shame, or Fear.

The Enneagram triads are divided into three processing centers: the Head, the Heart, and the Gut, which correspond to Thinking, Feeling, and Instinct, respectively. All these reflect different ways of filtering our experiences and the dominant emotions we experience according to Enneagram theory. This division helps us better understand each Enneatype and how they relate to each other.

  • Heart Triad: Focuses on the Heart and is related to Shame.
  • Gut Triad: Focuses on the Gut (Instinct) and is linked to Anger.
  • Anger Triad: Emphasizes the Head, associating with Fear.

These subdivisions are crucial for delving into the knowledge of the nine Enneatypes and understanding how each manages their emotions differently.

Why Are the Enneagram Triads Important?

We can say they act as lenses through which we can see and understand our deepest motivations, fears, and desires. They offer a framework for understanding how we process our emotions and how these influence our way of interacting with the world. By identifying which triad we belong to, we gain clarity on our instinctive responses to various situations, allowing us to:

  • Improve Self-Awareness: Recognizing our predominant emotions and how they impact our daily lives.
  • Foster Healthier Relationships: Understanding our reactions and those of others from an empathetic perspective.
  • Personal Development: Identifying areas for growth and transforming challenges into learning opportunities.

The Origin of the Enneagram Triads

There’s no exact date or place, but we can trace back to ancient spiritual and philosophical traditions, amalgamating wisdom from various cultures and epochs. This self-knowledge tool ends up being the result of an extensive journey through history, gathering influences from Sufi mysticism, Greek philosophy, early Christianity, and other systems of ancient wisdom. Its development continued over the centuries to build the concept we know today.

The Enneagram Triads Today

So, knowing everything we’ve discussed, we can say that the triads specifically are based on the observation that humans tend to experience and process reality through the three centers of intelligence we encapsulate in the circle: emotional, instinctive, and mental. This division reflects a deep understanding of human nature, recognizing the diversity of experiences and reactions to the world.

Through the triads, the Enneagram offers a detailed map of the human psyche, allowing us to explore the depths of our being with precision and compassion. By understanding our triads, we not only discover more about ourselves but also learn to navigate the complex fabric of relationships and challenges life presents more adeptly.

How Triads Help Identify Enneatypes

So, knowing the extent that the triads signify, we know they are essential in grouping the nine enneatypes into three, according to their common particularities, as we mentioned at the beginning. This simplifies the process of identifying a person’s predominant attributes in interpersonal relationships. Instead of analyzing the nine enneatypes at once, the triads allow us to focus on three, thereby facilitating the approach to the predominant enneatype.


The Enneagram triads are a window into a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we interact with the world. Although each person is unique and not limited exclusively to one attribute or enneatype, working with triads provides a starting point for exploring the dynamics of our personality and our relationships.

Understanding the triads is a step towards self-knowledge and self-acceptance, powerful tools on our journey of personal growth. And remember, this is just the beginning. Each triad, each enneatype, has a world of depth waiting to be explored.

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